Update 09/11/2020 12:01pm:
According to reports, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace revealed he is leaving the Richard Petty Motorsports team. News of this comes months after Wallace made headlines for revealing an alleged noose was found hanging in the driver’s garage.
Via Twitter, Wallace posted the announcement and said, “This was not an easy decision as I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Petty and his family, but I believe it's time for someone else to take over the reins of the No. 43. Thank you to the King and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to start my Cup Series career. I've grown so much as a driver and as a person since joining them. We've got nine more races together, and I hope we can finish the 2020 season on a high note."
The noose incident was investigated by the FBI, who determined the noose was previously in the garage for months and noted that the situation was not a targeted hate crime. Take a look at Wallace's statement above.
Update 06/26/2020 1:49am:
NASCAR has released a photo of the noose at the center of the Bubba Wallace controversy and it hasn't seemed to do anything but further polarize those who believe malintent behind the noose and others who consider it to be a "pull rope."
Steve Phelps, NASCAR president said in a statement Thursday, "Given the facts presented to us, we would have pursued this with the same sense of urgency and purpose," adding, "Upon learning of seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver. We're living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate, and was only present in one area of the garage -- that of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace."
He continued, "In hindsight, we should have -- I should have -- used the word 'alleged' in our statement. ... As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba. With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family -- our NASCAR family -- because they are part of the NASCAR family too. We were proud to see so many stand up for what's right." Phelps added, "We found only 11 total that had a pull-down rope tied in a knot, and only one noose -- the one discovered on Sunday in Bubba Wallace's garage."
Phelps went onto say, "We have no idea what the intent was at all, whether there was any malice in it or whether it was just fashioned as a noose for a pulley. We don't know that" concluding with, "We need to keep Bubba safe. We need to keep a member of our family safe."
Update 06/24/2020 10:32am:
Bubba Wallace sat down with CNN's Don Lemon to respond to claims that a rope found in a NASCAR garage is a hand pull, not a noose, despite investigations by the FBI and NASCAR describing what was found as a noose. NASCAR said it was a "garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose," and Wallace told Don Lemon that it was a "straight-up noose."
He stated, "Don, the image that I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull. I’ve been racing all my life. We’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. People that want to call it a garage pull put out old videos and photos of knots as their evidence, go ahead. From the evidence that I have, it’s a straight-up noose. The FBI has stated that it was a noose over and over again. NASCAR leadership has stated that it was a noose. I can confirm that. I actually got evidence of what was hanging in my garage over my car around my pit crew guy to confirm that it was a noose. Never seen anything like it.”
Bubba also spoke about the backlash surrounding the situation, stating, "The backlash will always be there. It doesn't matter if we provide 100% facts and evidence, photo evidence, people are gonna photoshop it to make me look like the bad person at the end of the day. I will always have haters. I will always have motivators to go out there and dethrone me from the pedestal that I am on."
He continued, "This will not break me. None of the allegations of being a hoax will break me or tear me down. It will piss me off, absolutely. But, that only fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up."
Original 06/23/2020 7:38pm:
Racial tensions have run high since the latest string of police officers and white supremacist vigilantes murdering unarmed black people. An even more ominous sign of the times has been the crop of black men found hanging from trees. The reality of all this no doubt played a role in the uproar over a noose found in black NASCAR star Bubba Wallace's garage. While the FBI investigated the situation, many NASCAR drivers showed their solidarity with Wallace and speaking out against bigotry and racism.
However, the FBI has since determined that Wallace was not targeted in a federal hate crime. The Bureau's investigation found the noose had been in the garage since October 2019 and was used as a "pull rope" for the garage door. NASCAR said in a statement on Tuesday,
"The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team's arrival and garage assignment. We appreciate the FBI's quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing."